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Hidden Gems: Meet Goodness Cooks

Today we’d like to introduce you to Goodness Cooks. 

Hello Goodness Cooks, so excited to have you on the platform. So, before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today? 

We met in Carrboro in 2015 and have been friends ever since. We’re from very different backgrounds, Lizzie is from London and Cordon grew up in nearby Greensboro, yet we found we shared a similar belief – that eating real, nourishing food connects you to your body, to those around you and is a truly enjoyable and fundamental part of life. Our paths led us to the world of nutrition and cooking in different ways. Lizzie’s passion for food and wellness was sparked by her travels in her twenties, then she began cooking for retreat centers and personal clients and completed her training at IIN in holistic nutrition. Cordon discovered the power of good nutrition as she used food to heal some health issues she was struggling with and was inspired to get her master’s in nutrition from UNC- Chapel Hill. We also both became mothers around the same time (our girls are the best of friends!) and that journey has taught us so much about the importance of food in our lives – as an expression of love and also a foundational building block to overall health. We also get how busy families are in these times and have so much compassion for the struggle of creating healthy rhythms around food. We decided to join forces and bring together our holistic chefing experience and nutrition knowledge to create Goodness Cooks, so we could serve more people in our community our simply prepared, healthy, delicious food. 

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not, what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way? 

Once we decided to start a business together, we like to say that we just hopped onto the next lily pad in the pond as it rose up, one small step at a time. So, leading up to our launch in late 2019 was just a matter of finding the right helpers and guides, following the leads that showed up and making sure that every choice we made – from our logo to where we would cook to what ingredients to choose – was thoroughly researched and aligned with our vision. That’s not to say there weren’t big surprises along the way and trials we’ve had to deal with – there always is – but overall, we’ve been very, very lucky considering we started our business as the pandemic hit. And although we love ease and flow, without the hardships we wouldn’t have been able to test our partnership and friendship to see how truly strong it is. 

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know? 

We are a women-run small business that prepares weekly take-home meals for pick-up every Tuesday evening at Blue Dogwood Public Market in downtown Chapel Hill. Ordering from Goodness Cooks as part of your weekly rhythm is more of a lifestyle choice and very different than ordering take-out. There’s so much more that sets us apart and makes us one-of-a-kind in our community. Our food is always fresh, healthy and – most importantly – delicious, and our ingredients are organic and locally sourced. We’re gluten and dairy-free and have options for vegans, vegetarians and paleo/keto as well. Because we source our produce locally as much as possible, our menus shift with the seasons and are different every week based on what’s available. And unlike take-out, many different meals can be made from just one weekly pick-up order. You can order a quart of soup to eat for lunches and use a quart of our salad as a side for multiple dinners. We’re also known for our snacks, desserts and medicinal beverages that contain only natural sweeteners, alternative flours, and healthy fats. There’s also no subscription required or minimum amount to order, so you can order every week or just when you need it. And we’re also very proud of our Eco Program, which is an effort to reduce our environmental imprint by reducing plastic usage. Most of our customers sign up and then receive their food in reusable glass mason jars that they return to us at pick-up. It makes us feel so good to use glass knowing that it’s better for the earth, better for the food, and that customers are so happy to participate in it. A true win-win! 

Is there anyone you’d like to thank or give credit to? 

We have had so much incredible support over the last two years, from the preparation phase to now. We connected with the SBDTC in Chapel Hill early on and received launch help from Arden Rosenblatt. As the business gained ground, we’ve worked with our business counselor, Joel Harper, a huge asset to us. Slow Money NC connected us with an amazing couple – Ellen Cassilly and Frank Konhaus – who believed in our vision and loaned us start-up money that really got the ball rolling. We were able to launch with a truly beautiful and functional website thanks to our amazing web developer, Joe Wright, as well as logo design from Kristin Tata and photos from the talented Shannon Kelly. Our friends at Acme Food & Beverage took us in while we searched for a more permanent home after leaving Midway Community Kitchen, which allowed us to keep growing in uncertain times. The management at Blue Dogwood Public Market on Franklin Street, Sarah and Jeff Boak, are huge allies as they’ve supported us in this last year as we’ve grown as a new business with an official “home”. We absolutely could not run Goodness Cooks without Happy Dirt and Firsthhand Foods in Durham who are distributors of local organic produce and local pastured meat. We’re SO lucky to live near these two maverick businesses that support the local food economy. Cordon’s mother, Florence, has also played a pivotal role in Goodness Cooks. She preps, packages, pays attention to every detail, grows herbs, and now helps to manage our Tuesday pick-ups. We couldn’t do what we do without her. We’ve also had the most incredible women in our kitchen prep position over the last year as we navigated the waters of 2020 and beyond. Every woman that has worked for us – the amazing Celina Cool, Sophie Wise, Emily Miller, and now, Annie Hanson- has taught us so much about being bosses and how to be in right relationship with people that bring so much value to what you do. As we pull off a busy cook week and package every order right on time for Tuesday’s pick-up, our kitchen team is right in the trenches with us, truly making it happen! 

Contact Info:

  • Email: goodnesscooks@gmail.com
  • Website: goodnesscooks.com
  • Instagram: @goodnesscooks
  • Facebook: @goodnesscooksnc

Image Credits
Shannon Kelly
Emily Miller

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